Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Working Smoke Alarms Alert Sleeping Family To Fire Last Night

There was a house fire in the Chevy Chase area at 11 PM last night.  A family of 4, plus 2 dogs, were asleep but were able to escape unharmed.   They were displaced from their home as a result of the fire.
Install. Inspect. Protect. Smoke Alarms Save Lives 
So, you might ask, how did this family manage to be asleep yet ultimately escape the fire in their home?  Simple!

Smoke alarms alerted the sleeping family to the fire!

Working smoke alarms save lives!

Please make sure your alarms are working in your home!  Test them today as, you never know, you may need them tonight! 

Stay Safe,

Bill D

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours!  Make sure it is a safe one!  

Photo Courtesy of Firefighter Howard Sperling

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Do Not Let Your Thanksgiving Go Up In Flames!

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers is urging residents to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday and to keep safety at the top of everyone’s “to do” list this holiday season. “Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a rookie cooking your first holiday feast, the strategies for serving up a safe meal are the same,” said Chief Bowers. “Unattending cooking is the leading cause of residential fires and we’re asking residents to follow these simple safety tips and to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.”  

Cooking Safety Tips:
  • Be alert! Stay in the kitchen when using the stovetop and use a timer. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a minute, turn off the stove.
  • Keep anything that can catch fire at least 3 feet from the stove, toaster oven or other heat source. This includes pot holders, food packaging, dish towels, paper and plastic bags, etc.
  • Do not pour water on a grease fire. Pouring water on a grease fire can cause the fire to spread. In the event of a range-top fire, turn off the burner, put on an oven mitt and smother the flames by carefully sliding a lid or cookie sheet onto the pan. Leave the lid in place until the pot or pan has cooled.
  • Clean cooking surfaces regularly to prevent grease buildup which can ignite.
  • Always wear short, tight-fitting sleeves when cooking to prevent clothing from coming in contact with a burner and catching fire.
  • Do not hold children while cooking or carrying hot foods or drinks. Keep children at a safe distance from hot surfaces, liquids and other kitchen hazards.
  • Plug microwaves and other kitchen appliances directly into an outlet. Never use an extension cord for a cooking appliance as it can overload the circuit and cause a fire.
  • Double-check the kitchen before you go to bed or leave the house. Make sure all other appliances are turned off and that any candles or smoking materials are safely extinguished.
  • Smoke alarms save lives. Install a smoke alarm on every level of your home, test  batteries monthly and check batteries annually. 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Out and About in the Community

By: Lieutenant Jeff Stahley

While out this past Saturday conducting our Safety In Our Neighborhood door to door smoke alarm check program, we came across two families enjoying the day. The personnel of Clarksburg Fire Station 35 C Shift were very happy to show off Truck 735 and its equipment to the kids and their parents.

Be sure to look out for us just about every Saturday in communities across Montgomery County reminding everyone to make sure you have working smoke alarms in your home!

Photo Courtesy of Lt Jeff Stahley

Monday, November 19, 2012

Turkey Fryer Fires

Turkey fryers are becoming an increasingly popular choice to cook the Thanksgiving turkey and can be extremely dangerous if proper precautions are not taken. If your plans include using a turkey fryer, I urge residents to follow all manufacturer directions closely and to review the following safety tips:

Safety Tips:

· Many units easily tip over, spilling the hot oil within the cooking pot.

· A small amount of cooking oil coming into contact with the burner can cause a large fire.

· Fryers should always be used outdoors, on a solid level surface a safe distance from buildings and flammable materials.

· Never use a fryer on a wooden deck, under a patio cover, in a garage or enclosed space.

· Do not overfill the fryer.

· If the cooking pot is overfilled with oil, the oil may spill out of the unit when the turkey is placed into the cooking pot. Oil may hit the burner/flames causing a fire to engulf the entire unit.

· Partially frozen turkeys placed into the fryer can cause a spillover effect. This too, may result in an extensive fire.

· With no thermostat controls, the units also have the potential to overheat the oil to the point of combustion. Never leave the tryer unattended.

· The sides of the cooking pot, lid and pot handles get dangerously hot, posing severe burn hazards.

· Never let children or pets near the fryer when in use or after use as the oil can remain hot for hours.

· Make sure the turkey is completely thawed before it is placed in a fryer.

Following these simple fire safety tips can boost survival rates and reduce injuries dramatically. Have a Happy, and SAFE, Thanksgiving!

Bill D.

Friday, November 16, 2012

The Power of Fire

Back in 1986 our friends at the National Fire Protection Association produced an award winning video entitled “Fire Power.”  It was really breathtaking as it took you through the initial ignition of the fire through it burning up a whole room and most of a house.  The video really gave the viewer a deep appreciation of the destructive force of fire.

The below is an update and worth watching.  It is just a little over 7 minutes and worth every minute of your time to view. 

As you will see in the video, and please remember, home fire sprinklers save lives and property.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Moving On Up! Department Promotions Announced

Fire Chief Richie Bowers is pleased to announce the following promotions:

The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Battalion Chief:
    • David Polikoff
The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Lieutenant:
    • Marcelo D. Ramos
The following personnel have been promoted to the rank of Master Firefighter:
    • David W. Hensley
    • Diarra E. Branch
    • Kenneth M. Diffenderfer
    • Marvin J. Robinson
    • Robert J. Faas Jr
    • Steven C. Laughman
    • Timothy L. Anderson
Congratulations to all!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What’s Invisible, Has No Smell, But Can Kill You? Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is the most common cause of death by poison in the United States, killing more than 500 people every year. It is one of the most dangerous poisons because often people don't know it is present until it is too late. The best way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning is to buy a carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to as CO) detector for your home. A properly working carbon monoxide detector can provide an early warning before deadly gases build up to dangerous levels. If you live in a home that is two stories or more, you might want to install two.
For more information, see the "Is it Flu or Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?" page.
Pictograph from our partners in Safety at
If you notice these symptoms and suspect that carbon monoxide is the cause, leave the area immediately and get outside to fresh air. Call 9-1-1 and seek medical help.
Be reminded: Installing a carbon monoxide detector does not eliminate the need to have a smoke alarm in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors do not detect smoke and smoke alarms do not sense carbon monoxide.
CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America.
(Source: Centers for Disease Control)


  • ·         CO is a produced anytime a fuel is burned. Potential sources include gas or oil furnaces, water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens, generators and car exhaust fumes.
  • ·         Every year more than 10,000 people die or seek medical attention due to CO poisoning from home-related products. (Source:  Consumer Product Safety Commission)
  • ·         More than two-thirds of Americans use gas, wood, kerosene or another fuel as their home's major heat source.
  • ·         65% of CO poisoning deaths from consumer products are due to heating systems.
  • ·         Only 27% of homes in America have carbon monoxide alarms, according to recent industry research.
  • ·         An idling vehicle in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can produce concentrated amounts of CO that can enter your home through the garage door or nearby windows.
  • ·         CO poisoning deaths from portable generators have doubled for the past two years, and many of these deaths occurred in the winter months and during power outages.
  • ·         A poorly maintained gas stove can give off twice the amount of CO than one in good working order.


  • ·         Install at least one battery-powered CO alarm or AC-powered unit with battery backup on each level of your home and near sleeping areas.
  • ·         Have a licensed professional inspect heating systems and other fuel-burning appliances annually.
  • ·         Install fuel-burning appliances properly and operate according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • ·         Keep chimneys clear of animal nests, leaves and residue to ensure proper venting. Have all fireplaces cleaned and inspected annually.
  • ·         Do not block or seal shut the exhaust flues or ducts used by water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers.
  • ·         Do not leave your car running in an attached garage or carport.
  • ·         Do not use ovens or stoves to heat your home.
  • ·         Do not use charcoal or gas grills inside or operate outdoors near a window where CO fumes could seep in through a window.
  • ·         Check all carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Do they use the most accurate sensing technology? Do they need new batteries?
Replace CO alarms every five to seven years in order to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Chief Bowers Welcomes Back Maryland Task Force 1

Maryland Task Force 1 (MD-TF1) is home after nine days in storm-ravaged New York following last week’s Superstorm. MD-TF1was activatd by the Federal Emergency Mangement Agency (FEMA) as an Urban Search and Rescue Team on October 28, 2012. The 80-person task force team consists of firefighters, paramedics, search and rescue specialists, physicians, structural engineers, hazardous materials specialists, logistics and planning personnel as well as a canine team and their handler.


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Rescue Squad Operations

By: Battalion Chief Mark Davis
MCFRS Battalion 1

Crews from Company 15 and 12 are shown going to work Oct. 16 at a vehicle collision involving a rollover with entrapment on Route 29.

When vehicles are rolled over, the greatest concern is stability. In most cases, the vehicle is not found "teetering" on an edge. But, the mere fact that an arm or leg or worse could be pinned under the vehicle directs folks from the heavy rescue squad to stabilize the vehicle before attempting any patient removal.

The "tie-back" operation is a commonplace method of securing an overturned vehicle. The methods uses some basic laws of physics to provide stability. So for our non-FD friends - this is just one more example of how math and science helps you in your adult life. Much of heavy rescue work is about understanding physics and the laws of gravity and force.

Rescue Squad 715 is designed with numerous anchor points on all four sides of the rig - making it quite versatile in these type of events.

Once again, crews from the 1st Battalion did a great job of vehicle stabilization, extrication, and patient care. Fortunately, the driver of the overturned vehicle was not seriously injured and this event reinforces the importance of wearing your seat belt!

Monday, November 5, 2012

A Cold Evening Tonight - Use Your Home Heating Appliances Safely!

With a freeze warning in effect for this evening, I have a feeling a lot of you may be firing up a variety of home heating appliances.  Please take a moment to review the below home heating safety tips.  Many heating related fires are totally PREVENTABLE!
The high cost of home heating fuels and utilities have caused many Americans to search for alternate sources of home heating. The use of wood burning stoves is growing and space heaters are selling rapidly, or coming out of storage. Fireplaces are burning wood and man made logs.
All these methods of heating may be acceptable. They are, however, a major contributing factor in residential fires. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips can help you maintain a fire safe home this winter.

Kerosene Heaters

  • Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon buildup. Be sure the heater has an emergency shut off in the event the heater is tipped over.
  • Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel (coal, kerosene, or propane, for example) can produce deadly fumes.
  • Use ONLY the fuel recommended by the heater manufacturer. NEVER introduce a fuel into a unit not designed for that type fuel.
  • Keep kerosene, or other flammable liquids stored in approved metal containers, in well ventilated storage areas, outside of the house.
  • NEVER fill the heater while it is operating or hot. When refueling an oil or kerosene unit, avoid overfilling. DO NOT use cold fuel for it may expand in the tank as it warms up.
  • Refueling should be done outside of the home (or outdoors). Keep children, pets and clothing away from heaters.
  • When using a fuel burning appliance in the bedroom, be sure there is proper ventilation to prevent a buildup of carbon monoxide.

Wood Stove and Fireplaces

Wood stoves and fireplaces are becoming a very common heat source in homes. Careful attention to safety can minimize fire hazards.
To use them safely:
  • Be sure the fireplace or stove is installed properly. Wood stoves should have adequate clearance (36 inches) from combustible surfaces and proper floor support and protection.
  • Wood stoves should be of good quality, solid construction and design, and should be UL listed.
  • Have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned if necessary, especially if it has not been used for some time.
  • Do not use flammable liquids to start or accelerate any fire.
  • Keep a glass or metal screen in front of the fireplace opening, to prevent embers or sparks from escaping, unwanted material from going in, and to help prevent the possibility of burns to occupants.
  • The stove should be burned hot twice a day for 15-30 minutes to reduce the amount of creosote buildup.
  • Don't use excessive amounts of paper to build roaring fires in fireplaces. It is possible to ignite creosote in the chimney by overbuilding the fire.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal can give off lethal amounts of carbon monoxide.
  • Keep flammable materials away from your fireplace mantel. A spark from the fireplace could easily ignite theses materials.
  • Before you go to sleep, be sure your fireplace fire is out. NEVER close your damper with hot ashes in the fireplace. A closed damper will help the fire to heat up again and will force toxic carbon monoxide into the house.
  • If synthetic logs are used, follow the directions on the package. NEVER break a synthetic log apart to quicken the fire or use more than one log at a time. They often burn unevenly, releasing higher levels of carbon monoxide.

Furnace Heating

It is important that you have your furnace inspected annually to ensure that it is in good working condition.
  • Be sure all furnace controls and emergency shutoffs are in proper working condition.
  • Leave furnace repairs to qualified specialists. Do not attempt repairs yourself unless you are qualified.
  • Inspect the walls and ceiling near the furnace and along the chimney line. If the wall is hot or discolored, additional pipe insulation or clearance may be required.
  • Check the flue pipe and pipe seams. Are they well supported and free of holes and cracks? Soot along or around seams may be an indicator of a leak.
  • All unused flue openings should be sealed with solid masonry.
  • Keep trash and other combustibles away from the heating system.

Other Fire Saftey Tips

  • Never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house.
  • Never use a range or an oven as a supplemental heating device. Not only is it a safety hazard, it can be a source of potentially toxic fumes.
  • If you use an electric heater, be sure not to overload the circuit. Only use extension cords which have the necessary rating to carry an amp load.
    TIP: Choose an extension cord the same size or larger than the appliance electrical cord.
  • Place heaters at least three feet away from objects such as bedding, furniture and drapes. Never use heaters to dry clothes or shoes. Do not place heaters where towels or other objects could fall on the heater and start a fire.
  • Be certain that your heater is placed on a level, hard and nonflammable surface, not on rugs or carpets.
  • Use heaters on the floor. Never place heaters on furniture, since they may fall, dislodging or breaking parts in the heater, which could result in a fire or shock hazard.
  • Keep all heaters in safe working conditions. Never operate a defective heater.
  • Avoid using electrical space heaters in bathrooms or other areas where they may come in contact with water.
  • Frozen water pipes? Never try to thaw them with a blow torch or other open flame, otherwise the pipe could conduct the heat and ignite the wall structure inside the wall space. Use hot water or a UL-labeled device such as a hand held dryer for thawing and it is recommended that you consult with a qualified professional.
  • If windows are used as emergency exits in your home, practice using them in the event fire should strike. Be sure that all the windows open easily. Home escape ladders are recommended.
  • If there is a fire hydrant near your home you can assist the fire department by keeping the hydrant clear of snow so in the event it is needed, it can be located.
  • Do not run cords under rugs or carpets. Placing anything on top of the cord could cause the cord to overheat and result in a fire.


  • Be sure every level of your home has a working smoke alarm, and check and clean it on a monthly basis. In addition, have a carbon monoxide alarm outside each sleeping area.
  • Plan and practice a home escape plan with your family.
  • Contact your local fire department for advice if you have a question on home fire safety or to schedule for a free home safety inspection.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Spreading The Word Of Safety

By Captain Pete Corte
MCFRS Fire Station #7

As a way to get out the word about checking smoke detectors; the fire fighters of Montgomery County, Chevy Chase Company 7 went to the CC Supermarket today to pass out reminder flyers about checking detectors and turning back the clock! Company 7 and the check out girls wearing their "fire helmets" passed out flyers as the patrons purchased groceries.

Friday, November 2, 2012

It Only Takes ONE To Save Your Life!

Feel free to download, print out, and hand out to friends, family, and neighbors!  Spread the word of fire safety.  Also feel free to forward along electronically via email, facebook, Twitter, etc!
What Time is It Color

Thursday, November 1, 2012

What Time Is It? Time to Change Your Clocks and Check Your Smoke Alarms This Weekend

Simple task can be a potentially life-saving one 

Daylight savings time ends November 4th and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is urging all residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working when they change their clocks this weekend.   

“Home fires injure and kill thousands every year,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. I encourage everyone to test their smoke alarms, replace any alarms that are 10 years or older and conduct a home fire drill this weekend.”

The peak time for home fire fatalities is between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. when most families are sleeping. A working smoke alarm dramatically increases the chance for survival and provides advance warning of a fire resulting in more time to react and put a home escape plan into action. 

Help keep your family safe by following these fire safety tips:
1.      Install smoke alarms on all levels of your home, including the basement and in all sleeping areas.
2.      Test smoke alarms each month to ensure they are working. Replace batteries annually, as needed.
3.      Plan and practice home fire drills regularly. Decide in advance who will help family members that may need assistance escaping (young children, older adults or people with disabilities).
4.      Retire old smoke alarms and replace with new ones every 10 years, or as recommended by the manufacturer.  
5.      Make sure children recognize the sound of your smoke alarm and how to respond to its signal.
6.      Know your battery type. Smoke alarms equipped with 10-year batteries are becoming more common. Check your smoke alarms to see what type of battery it has. The 10-year batteries don’t need to be replaced annually, but the entire smoke alarm does need to be replaced every ten years.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will provide and install smoke alarm batteries at no cost to residents and will provide and install smoke alarms for residents that cannot afford them. Please call 311 for information and be sure to bookmark our website for year-round safety information at and sign up to follow us on twitter.